STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
SINCE THE FIAT/CHRYSLER GROUP WAS finalising its merger, the group was unable to provide total sales figures for the month of April. It did deliver a sales estimate of 350 units, though, and this brought the national tally of new car sales to what looks like a reasonable 36,346 units.
Despite a dramatic drop in sales for Toyota (8,213 units), it still managed to retain its overall leadership position with the best-selling Hilux (2,679) and Fortuner (879) forming the backbone of the Japanese marque’s April sales. Units carrying the Corolla/Auris/Quest badges also put up a strong showing with 771 units sold. However, the RAV4 (337) continues to play second fiddle to Volkswagen’s Tiguan which, when the 114 sales of the Allspace are added to that of the standard version’s 424 sales, extends the sales gap even further. Toyota’s luxury division, Lexus, continues to struggle along with an uneasy 48-unit total.
As the recurrent bridesmaid, Volkswagen stays in second place overall with an equally modest (by its standards) 6,261 total, supported to a large extent by both the Polo Vivo moniker on 2,123 and the newly launched Polo that raked in 1,907 units. A total of 625 vehicles from its Audi division also found new homes.
Despite a massive sales drop of more than 2,000 units for a total of 3,570, Ford remains in the third overall spot while leaning heavily on the Ranger (2,372) and the Everest (312), and only 213 for the EcoSport.
This brings Nissan, currently in fourth place with a 3,403 total, within striking distance of Ford. Nissan’s stars include the NP200 (1,058), and the NP300 workhorse that recorded 370 units. The Datsun GO managed 447 sales, while the Almera came to the party with 409. The Qashqai won over 246 new owners to sign on the dotted line.
Korean carmaker Hyundai shed some 400 sales when compared with March this year, but still recorded a total of 2,633 sales — led by the Grand i10 on 1,013, the Creta, which went to 611 new homes, and the Tucson with a slightly disappointing 227 units sold.
Despite dropping with almost 300 sales, Renault (1,611) moves up into the 6th overall position — taking over from Mercedes-Benz that slides down into 8th overall with a modest total of 1,385 sales. Renault continues to rely on the Kwid (693), its Duster on 313 sales, and 261 Sandero II units.
Meanwhile, BMW managed to get ahead of Mercedes-Benz with a small margin of just eight units. The 3 Series found 502 new owners, and the locally assembled X3 secured 244 sales. Sadly, the recently launched X2 failed to convince buyers — attracting only 41 new owners.
Isuzu remains in 9th overall with a 1,310 total and ambitious eyes cast in the direction of the under-pressure MercedesBenz, especially with the introduction of its recently launched MU-X SUV.
Tenth overall goes to Kia (1,304). Kia’s champions were the Picanto on 798, the Rio (246), and the Sportage on 114 units sold.
Of the manufacturers/importers falling outside the top ten rankings, Mazda (1,294) came within a whisker (10 units) of matching Kia for the 10th position.
Despite shedding 311 sales, Suzuki (700) also hung in there, while Honda’s 446 units remain modest. On the more premium front, Jaguar/Land Rover’s 305 sales were nothing to write home about, while Volvo Cars (207) showed an almost 50% improvement compared to last month. In stark contrast to the other major Japanese manufacturers, Mitsubishi (123) should be performing better, especially given the talents of its angular Pajero Sport. Porsche’s steep decline to only 74 units sold seem slightly peculiar, but this can be attributed to any number of reasons.
With exports expected to show substantial growth in the months ahead, it’s possible that 2018 will see a 3% overall improvement in domestic sales.
Below: South Africans seem to react favourably to the extended Volkswagen Tiguan as it sold an impressive 114 units in April